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1968 Commando rescue

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1968 Commando rescue

Postby Dean » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:55 am

Hi all

Before I start here is the motive for starting this thread...

I bought this bike in October 2013 when my wonderful wife gave me a bunch of cash for my birthday... to be honest I think she just didn't know what to get me and she thought this'll be an easy out. How wrong she was...

So now it's 2017 and the project is still not finished, in fact you could probably say it has stalled. So the idea is if I start a rebuild thread it will inspire me to get on with it.

I will start with the purchase. I have always wanted a Commando and a 68 fastback, in my opinion, is the best looking of them all. So I had been looking for a while and this one came up on Craig's list in Colorado.Took a gamble and sent $2500 half way around the world to guy called "Augie" with the hope I would get my dream bike some time after. Have to say Augie turned out to be one of those "salt of the earth" kind of guys that we run into not often enough these days. He went out of his way to get the bike shipped to me and sent me pictures of it being loaded and couldn't have been more helpful.

The wait began... and in mid January 2014 the long anticipated call arrived. My bike is on the dock in Dubai yah but customs won't release it as it is a bike brand that is not recognised in the UAE road transport database.. oh f**k. To cut an incredibly long and frustrating story short, after 2 week of negotiations with the UAE customs my bike is on its way to me. The first and only Norton in the UAE?

I remember the night very well. From Dubai docks to my home in Abu Dhabi is normally a 1 hour drive but that day it was raining, now for a country where it rains maybe once every couple years this is a disaster. 7 hours later my bike arrived at 10:00 pm. Here at last. Put it to bed and it would have to wait till the morning. I wasn't allowed to start without my kids help, although it did get a good staring at for a couple of hours that night.

Was it Xmas morning already. Sure felt like it. Not quite. Had to wake the kids up to help dad unwrap his present. That never happens at Xmas.

Lots of pictures and the strip down begins with my restoration "team"
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Just off the truck after a long journey
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1970's
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17000 miles?
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The "team" at work.
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby Tin Man » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:13 am

Love the pic of the children cleaning the bike! Great looking machine too. What's your plan?
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby grandpaul » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:36 am

This should be a fantastic thread!

Welcome.
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby cjandme » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:50 am

grandpaul wrote:This should be a fantastic thread! Welcome.

+1 Good looking bike Dean, great starting point for a project since it seems to be complete. I look forward to future posts on your rebuild thread. :mrgreen:
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby Dean » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:08 pm

Tin Man wrote:Love the pic of the children cleaning the bike! Great looking machine too. What's your plan?


The plan is to take it back to original with any of the improvements from the later models that will make it more user friendly.

Kids not cleaning. They are wrenching, one side each. I was just taking photos, bagging and labelling. They are both petty good on the tools. Plenty of lefty loosey righty tightly lessons. In fact the boy is a better welder than I am...
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby gortnipper » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:56 am

Awesome! Love it! My 3 yo girl is keen on wrenches and helping, but hasn't quite grasped how they really work that well yet.
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby qside » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:25 am

I am gonna follow your build closely. I am rebuilding the same bike in Syracuse NY. Hope to learn something.

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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby grandpaul » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:09 am

Way to go, Dean. Your kids can support you in your old age!
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby Dean » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:40 pm

gortnipper wrote:Awesome! Love it! My 3 yo girl is keen on wrenches and helping, but hasn't quite grasped how they really work that well yet.


Start them early. I remember my son "helping me" at about the same age. I was adjusting my front brake and he was playing with my socket set down the back of the bike when I was finished I was packing up and half of my sockets were gone. When I asked him what happened to the sockets he pointed at the exhaust. Had to pull off the silencer of to get the sockets out.
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby Dean » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:50 pm

qside wrote:I am gonna follow your build closely. I am rebuilding the same bike in Syracuse NY. Hope to learn something.


Hi qside

Would like to see some pictures. Put some up here. Mine is S/N 128372. Is that close to yours?

Cheers
D
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby gortnipper » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:33 pm

Dean wrote:
gortnipper wrote:Awesome! Love it! My 3 yo girl is keen on wrenches and helping, but hasn't quite grasped how they really work that well yet.


Start them early. I remember my son "helping me" at about the same age. I was adjusting my front brake and he was playing with my socket set down the back of the bike when I was finished I was packing up and half of my sockets were gone. When I asked him what happened to the sockets he pointed at the exhaust. Had to pull off the silencer of to get the sockets out.


The best was when my oldest girl was almost 3 and I was putting on my nicely resprayed Interstate tank, and she said she wanted to help. It was a hot summer day, so I told her to go inside and ask her mom for a beer and bring it to me. Came back open and full. Best bike assist every by a 3 year old.
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby Dean » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:57 pm

Ok so the bike is in big chunks and can now see what I have. I keep a notebook for my restorations and keep all my notes in 1 place. In the back I write down all the parts that I need.

I start with the frame first then suspension then wheels so I can get a rolling chassis to hang everything else on.

Once I got the frame out I could see it needed a lot of work to get it right. It still had the "widow maker frame and there was a lot of extra material welded around the headstock so strong indications it was cracked. Also the rear loop was bent and some ugly welds around the shock mounts that needed looking at.

First I removed the extras around the headstock and crack tested the down tubes and spine. Sure enough the RH down tube was cracked about 3/4 around. Ground out the crack and welded it up then made up a lower 1" diameter tube to go under the spine as in the later frames. This meant I had to replace the tank and coil mount which I got from AN. All welded up... good to go.

Next the rear loop. I chopped off the good aft piece to use later and then chopped out the damaged/bent pieces. Someone in the past had beaten a piece of solid bar in to slice the rear frame on and made a right hash of it. I had to chop off the shock mounts to get in to repair the damage so would need to make new ones. I made the outer ones as per standard but made the inner ones from thicker material and extended to support the rear loop.

Frame done.
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Widow maker frame
. Not mine but same.
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Previous "repair"
Welding in repair parts
rear loop with new modified shock mounts
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Re: 1968 Commando rescue

Postby cjandme » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:37 am

Outstanding !! That '68 sure got lucky when you became the new owner. :mrgreen:
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